Friday, June 12, 2009

Swaddle, perfected.

It only took four months, which translates into about 120 attempts at creating The. Perfect. Swaddle.

And now I've done it.  If someone could put a gold star next to my name on the Fantastic Mothering oak tag (remember oak tag?) chart, I'm ready to take on the next challenge that mothering sends my way.

Why post about swaddling?  Who cares?

A few weeks ago, I would not have cared much about swaddling.  I had lost perspective of the all encompassing, super important purpose of swaddling.  Our nights had turned into some form of insane mayhem that involved 3-ish hours of sleep, a dismaying amount of spit up, and two babies with zero concept of bed time, night time, day time, or nap time.  Really because I was approaching mothering, specifically the mothering of twins, with a sort of "I'm unconventional and will allow my children to approach their days in a non-rigid and abstract manner" attitude.

Well.  Bring on the rigid, or at least the slightly stable.  Bring on the concrete.  For the LOVE OF GOD, bring on a schedule.  A beautiful, shiny, sleep-including schedule.

With a little (okay A LOT) of help and support from my local maternal wellness center, Nini Bambini (which I will not stop blogging about.  Because I love them and they are HELPING me and they are struggling to stay afloat because nobody supports small business - so support small business and visit them), I have been slowly converting the babies to a fantabulous and gentle schedule which includes naps, baths, and an actual bedtime. Nothing crazy, but all fairly decent ideas.

We also have a bedtime routine.  Which is where my newly perfected swaddle comes in.  The first step in The. Perfect. Swaddle. includes using the perfect swaddling blanket.  So I bought the perfect swaddling blanket, two of them in fact.  But my swaddles kept un-swaddling.  The rapid un-swaddling was partly due to user error (mine) and partly due to the babies resisting.  If the physical act of my attempting to swaddle my babies were put into conversational form, it would go something like this:

Me: I can see you're fussy.  Let me swaddle you.  You may not realize this, but you're actually craving structure, and a womb-like experience.

Babies: Oooh!  A shadow!  Must thrash with wild abandon!

And so on and so forth.  Until the day that I discovered perfection.

It is at this point that I realize I've created a build up far bigger than any amazing point I have to share about swaddling.  Unless I'm about to reveal that the secret to world peace somehow was hidden beneath the folds of our very chic Aden and Anais  swaddling blankets, I've amped this up just a tad much.

But I suppose I'm now inclined to make the big reveal.  So here it is.  My swaddling tips.  To create Perfection.

(And if you've never swaddled a baby, this will make zero sense at all.  Even better).

Fold the first corner down over baby's shoulder.  Tuck under baby's body.  Here's the magic in this step: brace one hand against baby's side while pulling and tightening the remaining side of the swaddle.

Next, fold the bottom up over baby's feet and tuck under baby's body.  The magic here?  Make sure you leave enough length for baby's legs to be fully outstretched.

And then the final and most magical step: gather all remaining material into your hand like a pony tail.  Wrap around baby's opposite shoulder, under the back, and then pull and tighten on the opposite side.  Tighten and tuck into the front folds.

If you were hoping for a bigger thrill, go have a margarita.  Use really good tequila.


Daryl said...

I am standing. I am applauding. Its as good a moment to stand and applaud as any .. world peace can wait. Peace at bedtime is a much bigger, far more applause worthy feat at this time.

Now go work on world peace, I suspect its all in that last twist/pull .. and remember, keep those world leaders legs straight!

Kidding but serious about being proud of you

Lindsay Bounds said...

We have been working on swaddling for two weeks ourselves, and we aren't great at it either. My 'pony tail' section always comes out too short and then when she starts to thrash and grunt, which is inevitable, she gets an arm free and we have to start over. It seems that I only get the swaddling done well when she plans on pooping within seconds of being returned to her crib...go figure.

Sades said...

I wish I had thought to tell you this trick sooner. We don't use it ourselves, but my friend couldn't get by without it. You might want to try a special sleep cd that you only put on at bedtime. The boys will start to associate that with sleep. Or at least that's the idea. Once again, I haven't really tried this one out myself. Good luck, and enjoy that much needed sleep!

Deb said...

Hi ~ I could use a good swaddle myself. Do they sell those swaddling cloths in Super XL ? I think the world might be a better place if we all did more swaddling. And I am glad that the night time routine is working out. Kisses and hugs to all.

Halala Mama said...

I wrapped my son so tight that I credit his current upper body strength to his attempts to escape. When he outgrew the best swaddling blanket, I bought flannel and made him a huge one. Exactly two weeks later, he abandoned it all together. Ingrate.